The Apple Life

Ya know, for a kid that grew up with an old Teletype for a terminal, and punched paper tape for archival storage, the things I can do with my Apple lifestyle are truly amazing.

Here I sit at my desk, working for a decidedly Microsoft-friendly company with no tolerance for “foreign” machines on their network…. and yet, here I am, blogging away on my MacBook, tempering my workday with tunes from my iPod, all the while wirelessly connected to the ‘net through the magic of Sprint’s wireless broadband network. I can see my mail, just as if I was in my home office. I can maintain my webserver, just like I was in its closet at home. I can troll for the latest news on updates to products I care about. I can work on my images, copying them from home to wherever I am, and then returning them to my home network, ready to use in printing, web or delivery to a customer.

When I was growing up, we all thought the computer technology that we saw on Star Trek was where we were headed. We were right, and wrong.

I mean, voice technology is out there, but its not ubiquitous, nor is it bulletproof. There have been great demos showing systems that understand contextual differences between homonymns, but in general, the technology that would allow me to talk to my system in normal language and get things done correctly just isn’t mature… yet.

But storage…. man oh man… storage! Twenty years ago, I had a hard drive in my home machine, probably an old Seagate ST-238R that, with the aid of an RLL controller, was supporting about 30 megabytes of data. The laptop I’m typing on now has a modest 100GB drive in it, and it feeds back to a machine at home with 1.25TB plus an additional 1TB RAID array. Those are fantastic amounts of storage compared to just twenty years ago.

And there are so many other changes — processor speeds, graphic displays and resolution, digital cameras, etc., etc., etc.

At one time or another, I’m sure everyone who has a little time in the IT field probably waxes historical over the changes in the hardware and software, and what those changes are letting folks do nowadays as compared to sometime in the (relatively) recent past. For me, though, this year marks my 30th anniversary of working with this stuff in one form or another, and I find myself reflecting a bit more on what was, and looking forward to what is to come.

For me, the biggest change has been the move to the Mac, and how incredibly less time I spend maintaining my three Macs, and how much more time I have to be creative on them. That is the single biggest advance my switch to the Mac just about two years ago has bought me. Rarely have I found some perplexing system problem that I coudn’t solve, and instead, I find myself trying to figure out how to find enough time for all the creative things this wonderful hardware and software combo affords me the capability to do.

Man, these are great days to be living in!